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Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2012 for Political Theory within the Social and Behavioral Sciences category.
Part I The Centrality of Choice
1 Choices, Choices, Choices 7
2 In Love with Choice 26
Part II Limits and Influences
3 Our Choices, Our Brains 47
4 Choice and Culture 70
5 Choice and Power 98
6 Choice and the Free Market 119
Part III What to Do
7 The Problem with Personal Responsibility 143
8 Umpires, Judges, and Bad Choices 163
9 Building Choice in a World of Limits 185
Posted October 17, 2011
This is an eye-opening book that looks at how the choices we make are often informed by forces beyond our control. Using lots of interesting case studies along with his own experiences, Greenfield, a law professor at Boston College and former clerk to Supreme Court Justice David Souter, answers questions such as: Why do we tend to blindly obey authority figures, even when we are free to disobey (see the recent story of the sweat lodge guru)?; Why is the free market not as free as corporations would have us believe (Is the fact that a burger/fries/soda value meal usually costs less than a salad and a bottle of water due to the impartial "invisible hand", or to agricultural government subsidies promoting corn syrup and frying oils?)? How does America's approach to culpability and punishment cause us to incarcerate five times more of our own people than Britain, nine times more than Germany, and twelve times more than Japan?
As this thought-provoking book makes clear, at the core of practically every key issue facing us today--healthcare reform, gay rights, poverty, disaster relief, abortion, etc.--is human choice and willpower. This book clarifies the essential truths of how and why we decide what we do, and most importantly offers a prescription for navigating the whirlpool of true and false choices swirling around us.
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